Just a day after their lone loss on the trip against the Milwaukee Bucks, the team as a whole regrouped and together led a unified effort against the Wizards, and kept hold of the eighth and final playoff spot for another night.
Dwyane Wade was as deadly as ever, scoring 11 of his 20 points in the final quarter on a variety of nifty shots to dazzle a crowd that sounded as if it consisted mostly of Wade and Heat fans. It was one of those special nights where he fed off the MVP chants from Heat Nation during crunch time, just this time it was on the road.
It was truly a team effort, however, with Bam Adebayo enjoying one of his more impressive efforts in recent memory affecting just about every aspect of the game as reflected by his near triple-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists — as well as four blocks. Dion Waiters (19 points) also had his own dominant moments in the game, particularly from long range which was sorely needed on a night the rest of the team (12-39, 30.8%) shot poorly and often from there.
Josh Richardson provided his usual trademark defense and finished with 18 points while Kelly Olynyk continued his fine form with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Even James Johnson got in on the fun with an important offensive run that helped secure the win, ending up with 13 points and five rebounds.
With Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder continuing to sit out due to injury, the Heat’s depth really shined through on another night that confirms the team is playing their best basketball at the most opportune time of the season.
Washington, who have now lost four straight and are 6.5 games behind the Heat in the standing, held a 13-point lead twice in the first half but lost it just it before halftime. Miami would then start strong in the third quarter but Jeff Green and Bradley Beal helped lead the Wizards back to hold a slim lead to end the quarter. That’s when Wade and his teammates answered back, including eight straight points from James Johnson early in the fourth quarter.
Miami next faces a crucial test against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at 7:30pm, a game which will also feature Chris Bosh’s jersey retirement ceremony.